Living With a Flatmate or Alone
The Pros and Cons of Living Alone
Whether you’re a social butterfly or more of an introvert, living alone has plenty of advantages.
Pro: More Personal Space
One of the best perks of living alone is that you can choose when you want to socialize with others.
If you’re feeling social, you can go out with friends, or even invite them over. However, if you’d prefer to be alone, you can always stay at home and enjoy your peace and quiet.
Pro: Total Freedom
Living alone gives you more than just the freedom to socialize. You can freely cook in your kitchen at any time you want. You can play loud music (but not too loud so you don’t disturb your neighbors). And you can even walk around naked if that is your heart’s desire.
Not having a flatmate around means no social rules for you. You can come and go as you please without any regard to your flatmates because you have none. You’re the king or queen of your castle.
Pro: You Can Decorate Any Way You Like
No flatmates mean that you can choose your decorations. While it may seem like a trivial point, having control over your decor is more important than you think.
Your decor can make your flat feel like home. It can reflect who you are. And it can create a comfortable environment for you to live in every day.
Con: You’re Responsible for Chores
If you live alone, cleaning your home is your responsibility. You’ll need to regularly wash the dishes, vacuum, and do the laundry. If you have a yard, you’ll need to make sure it’s mowed and watered. Plus, you may be responsible for keeping your driveway and sidewalks clean.
Housework can be a time-consuming pain to get done. So, you need to be prepared for that. Unless you want to hire a cleaner and landscapers, or try to avoid doing the chores all together (but that could get messy).
Con: All the Bills Are Yours Alone
The freedom you get from living alone comes at a higher price. You can’t split rent with a flatmate. You also have to pay for all the utilities, such as water, electricity, and WiFi all by yourself.
Luckily, there are some things you can do to lower your costs. For example, you can negotiate your rent. If you’re successful, you might get your landlord to cover some of the costs for care or utilities, saving you some money.
Not sure if you can afford to rent alone? Find out how much you can spend on a flat with
Con: You May Get Lonely Sometimes
Living alone sometimes means not having anyone to talk to. If your friends are busy, you may have to find other ways to socialize or have fun.
If you’re comfortable by yourself, this won’t be too hard. However, if you crave the company of others, you may be better off with a flatmate or two.
The Pros and Cons of Living With a Flatmate
Popular TV shows like “Friends” and “The Big Bang Theory” certainly made the concept of having flatmates exciting.
And who wouldn’t want to live with their best friend in a perpetual sleepover?
However, the reality of living with flatmates vs. alone is much different. Discover the real pros and cons of living with flatmates to find out if this is the best decision for you.
Pro: Cheaper Bills
Having someone to split the rent with is one of the most common reasons why people opt to live with flatmates.
Still, making financially smart decisions when it comes to flatmates is crucial to have a mutually beneficial living situation. Make sure you agree on certain expenses before you move in, rent a flat that fits everyone’s budget, and share the utilities fairly.
Pro: Shared Chores
More people, more dirt. More dirt, more chores. Luckily, you can save time by splitting up the housecleaning.
If you hate vacuuming and love doing the dishes, but your flatmate feels the opposite, it’s a match made in heaven. You can help each other out, keep your space clean, and avoid the chores you can’t stand doing.
Even if you don’t have particularly strong feelings about chores, sharing the workload makes life easier (and cleaner) for you both.
Alternatively, you can all chip in for a housecleaner to take care of the heavy lifting. This could save you a lot of hassle in the long run, but it does cost more.
Pro: Lots of Hanging Out With Friends
If your flatmates are your friends, hanging out with them doesn’t get any easier than living with them. A fun night at home with friends is as easy as picking up a bottle of wine or a six-pack on the way home and texting your flatmates to see who’s down.
And if you’re renting with strangers, it’s not hard to hang out with them either. As long as they’re okay with socializing and not too busy, hanging out can be as easy as putting your feet up at home.
Plus, who’s to say that you won’t become best friends after the shared experience of living together?
Con: No Freedom in the Flat
When you sign a lease with your flatmates, you’re signing away total freedom. You’ll need to be mindful when you’re playing music, using the communal space, or having company over.
You’ll also need to be aware of your mess. Leaving dishes in the sink can create problems, for example, if your flatmate wants to cook after you. And if they want to cook at the same time you do, it can get a little hectic, too.
After all, your flatmate has just as much right to feel at home and comfortable in your flat as you.
Con: Less Privacy
If you really value your alone time, flatmates won’t help with that. Your room may be the only space where you can be by yourself.
The kitchen, the bathroom, and the living room are all communal spaces and should be treated as such. That means, if you want privacy, you can’t expect to use those spaces. If your flatmate wants to chill there or bring people over, they have as much right to that space as you.
Con: Conflicting Schedules
Sometimes, having flatmates may mean having to wait to use the bathroom. Or not being able to use a certain cooking pan because someone else is already cooking with it. It can also mean that you can’t have a house party on a weekend because your flatmate is already throwing one.
These small (but annoying) everyday occurrences where your schedule conflicts can push flatmates into a confrontation. Be prepared. Even the best of friends can have issues when their plans get derailed because of their flatmates.
Questions to Ask Yourself Before You Move In With a Flatmate
Are you still not sure whether living alone or with a flatmate is the better choice for you? Ask yourself these 6 questions, and find out.
1. How Are Your Finances?
One of the most important factors to consider is your financial situation. If you can’t afford to live alone, the answer is clear. Having flatmates is a financially beneficial solution.
However, even if you can afford to rent a flat by yourself, you may not want to.
Some people prefer flatmates because the area they want to live in is more expensive. Others are saving up for a bigger expense.
If you have no problem living with flatmates, it’s generally a cheaper option.
2. Do You Like Living Alone?
Some people love their privacy and personal freedom at home. Others dread the time they have to be alone.
If you have strong feelings towards either of these categories, the answer is clear.
3. Who Do You Want to Be Your Flatmate?
Sometimes, your friendship group decides for you whether you’re going to live alone or with flatmates.
Moving in with your friends can be a great experience. On the other hand, it can also lead to the end of a friendship. You only truly know a person if you’ve lived with them.
Alternatively, you may want to move in with people you don’t know too. You’ll either become great friends, or you’ll do your best to avoid each other.
Flatmate dynamics are always hard to predict, but you have to be prepared for any scenario.
4. What Habits Do You Value in a Flatmate?
Knowing what habits you want your flatmate to have can help you narrow down your ideal living partner. However, if you have too many expectations, you may be better off living alone.
Does it bother you if they’re smokers? Would you be ok with an early riser, even if you’re a night owl? And do you prefer a cleaner or a more laid-back flatmate?
All of these questions about your potential flatmate’s habits can help you find the best flatmate, and avoid future conflicts.
5. Are You Good at Resolving Conflict?
Whether you move in with your best friend or a stranger, you’re bound to bump into disagreements.
Flatmates can (and will) have arguments or disagreements. However, how you resolve conflict can make or break your living situation.
If you like to face problems head-on, you can talk about anything that bothers you before it builds up. On the other hand, non-confrontational flatmates sometimes get along better.
And if you absolutely detest coming up with resolutions and compromises, living alone may be your best bet.
6. Are You New in Town?
If you just moved to a new city, and you don’t know anyone yet, having a flatmate can be a great blessing.
You can quickly make friends and meet their friends. This will help you build your own social circle. Your new flatmates can also show you around, and introduce you to the best spots in the city.